Google Android Jelly Bean adoption continues to inch up

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Feb 052013

Google has once again updated its “Platform Versions” report showing the distribution of various Android versions across devices that have accessed Google Play within a 14-day period. Jelly Bean (including both 4.1 and 4.2) continues to inch up (about 3% over the last month) with version 4.1 accounting for the lion share of the increase. At the same time, the story remains much unchanged: The nearly two year-old Gingerbread (2.3) still dominates with a 45.6% share.

Google Android version distribution
Click for a larger version

Combine Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and Jelly Bean (4.1/4.2) and they still account for less than Gingerbread but the gap is narrowing. With Google Nexus 4 availability improving and still more OS upgrades get pushed out, the tipping point may not be much longer in coming.

Android Donut (1.6) also managed to cling to the charts for another month. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to how much longer it will remain on the chart?

Google is widely expected to launch the next major version of Android at Google I/O 2013 in May. Before then, we may see the release of one more Jelly Bean version as early as later this month.

Read more: Android Developers

Fido launches Google Nexus 4 (or not)

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Feb 052013

Remember the days when the Google Nexus 4 was the most elusive of smartphones? Well, no more. Fido today became the latest Canadian carrier to launch the latest Google Nexus smartphone. It follows Videotron and WIND Mobile who made similar announcements recently.

Your best bet might be to check with your local Fido store in person. Earlier today, Fido’s website showed that shipments would start today but also indicated that it was currently out of stock. If you check back now, it is not even listed anymore and the page instead says “Sorry,the device you are looking for is not available.”

Google Nexus 4 on Fido

It’s not clear at this time when Fido will put the Google Nexus 4 back up on its website. It had promised an “early February” availability in late January.

As for pricing, if what was shown earlier today holds true, it will sell for CA$100 with a two-year contract or CA$425 outright.

Read more: Fido

Google Android 4.2.2 to launch as early as mid-February?

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Feb 052013
Google Android

Ahead of the expected launch of the next major version of Android at Google I/O in May, Google is reportedly readying another Jelly Bean update. According to The International Business Times, Android 4.2.2 is currently undergoing testing internally on a variety of Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and the older Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It was first spotted back in early January on a Nexus 4.

The update is described as “minuscule at best.” New features are likely to be kept for Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Instead, Android 4.2.2 will instead focus on bug fixes and security enhancements. A changelog is not yet available but one fix mentioned will address the Bluetooth streaming issue on the Nexus 7.

Android 4.2.2 is reportedly set to launch in “a couple of weeks” with a release window of mid-February to mid-March.

Read more: The International Business Times (Source: BGR)

Video: The first BlackBerry Z10 “Keep Moving” ad

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Feb 052013

BlackBerry’s Super Bowl ad focused on what BlackBerry 10 could not do and only a mere hint of what to expect from its new operating system. With the launch of its new “Keep Moving” ad campaign, BlackBerry’s new ad gives users the first glimpse on what it can do.

Meet the new BlackBerry Z10: The first full touchscreen device for BlackBerry 10 and, according to CEO Thorsten Heins, “the most beautiful BlackBerry we have ever launched.” BlackBerry Z10 features the ability to turn back time when editing photos, house all of your messages in the BlackBerry Hub and balance all of your work and personal information in one device.

This first ad is packed with features, briefly showing off BlackBerry Hub, Camera Time Shift and the BlackBerry 10 Keyboard among others.

All in all, a much better ad than the Super Bowl one.

Read more: [via YouTube]

BlackBerry Z10 goes on sale in Canada today

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Feb 052013

BlackBerry Z10Just in case you did not already have this date booked in your calendar, the BlackBerry Z10, the first BlackBerry 10 device, goes on sale today. Here is a list of carriers offering it today:

  • Bell: CA$149.95 with a three-year contract
  • Fido: From CA$350 with a two-year contract to CA$600 outright
  • Koodo: From CA$400 with CA$150 Tab to CA$550 outright
  • Rogers: From CA$139.99 with a three-year contract to CA$599.99 with a monthly plan
  • SaskTel: From CA$149.99 with a three-year contract to CA$599.99 outright
  • TELUS: CA$149.99 with a three-year contract / Shipping begins February 12th
  • Virgin Mobile Canada: CA$149.99 with a three-year contract

Mobility, MTS, Videotron and WIND Mobile have also confirmed that they will carry the BlackBerry Z10. They will not launch it today but in the near future.

While the BlackBerry Z10 will be offered in both black and white, the white version may prove difficult to find as initial quantities appear to have been more limited and reserved for those who reserved it ahead of today’s launch.

HTC M7 to use “ultrapixels” camera sensor?

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Feb 042013

HTC’s next flagship device, the HTC M7, will use a new “ultrapixels” camera sensor that promises to take much better pictures than we are used to from our smartphones. Past rumours have suggested that the HTC M7 would come with a 13MP camera but Pocket-lint has learned that the camera will instead come with three 4.3MP sensor layers (adding up roughly to the rumoured 13MP figure) that will work together to deliver a single image.

Effectively, each final pixel, or “ultrapixel” as HTC will describe it, will be generated using the data from all three sensors. The image generated will not be as large as that of a 13MP camera but promises to be crisper and cleaner and offer better colour accuracy.

Similar techniques have been used by other companies with other devices to achieve similar results. Notable in this category is the Nokia 808 PureView with its 41MP camera sensor.

HTC will make its new Ultrapixel sensor a key feature of the HTC M7 when it is announced. The name will presumably help distinguish it from more traditional higher pixel cameras and emphasize the uniqueness of what it offers.

HTC is expected to unveil the HTC M7 at a press event set for February 19th.

Read more: Pocket-lint

BlackBerry Q10 to launch in “April timeframe”

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Feb 042013

BlackBerry Q10The launch window of the upcoming BlackBerry Q10 got a bit narrower today. We first learned last week that BlackBerry would launch the BlackBerry Q10 in Canada sometime “this spring.” BlackBerry today confirmed that the global launch will take place “in the April time frame.” Confirmation came from Andrew MacLeod, Managing Directory for BlackBerry Canada, during a BlackBerry Experience Forum event taking place today. MacLeod added that “every market has different timelines and marketing windows.”

If the BlackBerry Z10 launch is any indication, Canada should be among the first countries to launch the Q10. One carrier, Rogers, is even already taking reservations for the BlackBerry Q10.

The BlackBerry Q10 will be BlackBerry’s first BlackBerry 10 device with a physical keyboard. Full specifications have not been announced yet but it will come with an AMOLED display offering a resolution of 720 by 720 pixels, the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, and LTE connectivity. It will use a “unique glass-weave material” that promises to be thinner and lighter, but stronger than plastic.

Read more: MobileSyrup

MWC 2013: Mozilla press conference set for February 24th

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Feb 042013

Mozilla today sent out invitations for a press conference that will take place on February 24th, the day before MWC 2013 officially opens. It confirms that Mozilla will not only attend but also exhibiting something at the event:

Mozilla MWC 2013 press conference invitation

The invitation makes no mention of what Mozilla plans to announce but there’s a good chance it will have something to do with its Firefox OS. It recently announced two developer smartphones, the Keon and the Peak, which are developed by Spain’s Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica.

While Firefox OS is still under development, the launch of developer phones suggests that it is in the final stretch. Could Mozilla formally announce Firefox OS at MWC 2013? We’ll know later this month.

Read more: CNET

Google Nexus 4 now available from WIND Mobile

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Feb 042013
WIND Mobile

WIND Mobile today became the second Canadian carrier to launch the Google Nexus 4.

Nexus 4 is the new smartphone from Google. With cutting edge hardware, the latest version of Android, and the best Google apps — Nexus 4 puts the world’s information at your fingertips

WIND Mobile today also launched new monthly plans ranging from CA$20 to CA$40 per month. The WIND 20 plans offers unlimited Talk and Text for CA$20 along with CA$100 WINDtab subsidy. The WIND 30 plans offers adds unlimited data along with a CA$200 WINDtab subsidy. For CA$40 per month, the WIND 40 offers international unlimited data, talk and text as well as a CA$300 WINDtab subsidy.

WIND Mobile is offering the Google Nexus 4 for CA$249 on WINDtab with their new CA$40 plan, CA$349 on WINDtab with the CA$30 plan, CA$449 on WINDtab with the CA$20 plan or CA$549 outright.

Read more: WIND Mobile

Canadian Samsung Galaxy Note II Jelly Bean upgrade rollout begins Wednesday

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Feb 042013

There was good news from Samsung Canada yesterday among all the tweets about the Super Bowl and The Next Big Thing. The Canadian arm of the manufacturer announced that the Jelly Bean upgrade for the Galaxy Note II would begin rolling out on Wednesday, February 6th:

As you can see from the tweet, it will include Samsung’s Multi Window function as well as Chinese language support.

While Samsung did not provide additional details, the rollout will likely be staggered by carrier (as we have seen in the past). With the Note II carried by Bell, Mobilicity, Rogers, SaskTel, TELUS, Videotron, and WIND Mobile, it may be a few more days at least before everyone sees it on their device. As usual, you will be able to check manually to see if the upgrade is available yet: Settings -> About phone -> System Updates -> Check now.

Read more: Samsung Canada [via Twitter]

BlackBerry partners with Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team

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Feb 042013
RIM BlackBerry

BlackBerry knows that it will need to move fast to get back into the smartphone game. As part of its new Keep Moving ad campaign, it announced a new partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. Team principal Ross Brawn said,

“On the day that our new Silver Arrow, the F1 W04, is launched, we are very pleased to announce our partnership with BlackBerry. We are looking forward to embracing the new BlackBerry 10 platform at both a technical and operational level, as well as collaborating with the team at BlackBerry to bring new mobile innovation to MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. It is especially pleasing to be able to launch this exciting partnership today as our latest Silver Arrow takes to the track with BlackBerry branding.”

Not only will the team use BlackBerry smartphones throughout the season but BlackBerry will also collaborate with the team on technical and marketing opportunities, including some apps and fan engagement.

As part of the new partnership, BlackBerry branding will feature on the chassis and headrest of the F1 W04 Silver Arrow, the racesuits of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and on the team’s racewear kit.

Read more: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1

HP unveils first Chromebook

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Feb 042013

HP Pavilion ChromebookHewlett-Packard is jumping into the Chromebook market. Joining Samsung and Acer in offering inexpensive devices powered by Google’s Chrome OS, it announced the HP Pavilion 14-c010us Chromebook. It is the first Chromebook to come with a 14-inch display.

The HP Pavilion Chromebook gives you fast and easy access to the things you love and depend on, from a world of Google apps and services to your photos and social networks. The OS and built-in security stay up to date automatically. And since it’s the first Chromebook with a 14-inch diagonal design, you get full-size comfort without giving up full-on mobility.

HP Pavilion 14-c010us Chromebook specifications:

  • Processor: 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847
  • Operating system: Google Chrome OS
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: 082.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (dual-band), Bluetooth
  • Display: 14-inch LED-backlit HD (1366×768)
  • Input: Full-size QWERTY keyboard
  • Memory: 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB)
  • Storage: 16GB SSD and SD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: Yes
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, RJ-45 port
  • Battery: 4-cell (37WHr) Li-Ion
  • Dimensions / weight: 347 × 238 × 21 millimeters / 1.8 kilograms
  • Colours: Black

HP is offering the HP Pavilion Chromebook for US$329.99. Available in the U.S., there is no word on whether we will also see it in Canada or elsewhere.

Read more: Hewlett-Packard

ASUS MeMO Pad 10 press shots leaked ahead of MWC 2013 announcement?

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Feb 032013

ASUS last month launched the entry-level ASUS MeMO Pad, a 7-inch tablet priced below most 7-inch tablets including the Nexus 7 (which it manufactures for Google). Leaked press shots now suggest that it is about to complement this tablet with a 10.1-inch model. Much as its smaller sibling, the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will reportedly also target a lower price point than similarly sized tablets.

Rumoured ASUS MeMO Pad 10

Along with the leaked press shots, Dutch website TabletsMagazine reports that the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will be powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It will come with a 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS display, 1GB RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and a microSD card reader, front and rear cameras and USB and HDMI ports. It will be available in blue, white and pink. Unlike the ASUS Transformer tablets, it will not have any docking functionality.

Despite the fact that an announcement is reportedly set for MWC 2013, some Dutch are apparently already taking pre-orders for the MeMO Pad 10 for €299 (about CA$405).

Read more: TabletsMagazine (in Dutch) [Google translation] (Source: AndroidCentral)

Video: The BlackBerry Z10 Super Bowl ad

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Feb 032013

Just before a power outage halted the Super Bowl just as the second half was getting underway, BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Z10 ad aired. The 30 second ad focused on a few things that BlackBerry 10 cannot do, explaining those colourful puffs of smoke and bouncing yellow rubber ducks:

The ad was a one-time deal and will not feature in BlackBerry’s upcoming Keep Moving ad campaign which gets underway February 4th.

Was the ad everything you expected and more? Or the opposite?

Read more: BlackBerry [via Twitter]

Carbon for Twitter app now available for Android

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Feb 032013

It has been a while in coming but Dots & Lines have at last launched their Carbon for Twitter Android app. It features a timeline design that aims to put everything on one screen to cut down on having to switch between views to get all your information.

The idea behind the design in Carbon has always been giving our users access to all of their Twitter content in one screen without the need to drill down to different screens to get them. Timeline, Mentions, Messages on the home screen, an extended Lists, Favorites, Trends as an extended screen to the main screen. All there.

Carbon for Twitter

Despite being an initial release, it appears to be full-featured already. It supports a number of features including threaded direct messages, support for multiple accounts, filters for hashtags, users, and keywords, and more. For now, there is one limitation that may keep you from installing this first version on some of your devices: There is no tablet support yet. It looks like Dots & Lines will develop a tablet-specific app but there is no ETA yet.

Future updates will add more customisable options and settings and non-Twitter options. Best of all and as promised, Carbon for Twitter is available for free. That includes no ads, this is the full version of the app.

Here’s hoping that Carbon for Twitter puts an end to the revolving door of Twitter apps on Gadgetorama’s smartphones.

Read more: Google Play